Young Blood

Do a bloody good deed. Donate blood today.


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Facing your fears: Emily’s Story

There are so many reasons why people do not donate blood.

Perhaps they are ineligible. Maybe they believe they don’t have the time. Some are afraid and skeptical, while even more are unaware of the need for blood or the way to get involved and give. Guest blogger Emily Gordon, a 20-year-old student from Wollongong shares her story on how she got involved and reminds us that if at first you don’t succeed, don’t be disheartened. Try again- your willingness to make a difference is wonderful in itself.

Emily Gordon is a testament to the fact that if at first you don't succeed, try again.

Emily Gordon is a testament to the fact that if at first you don’t succeed, try again.

As I am studying a health degree, I am well aware of the importance of donating blood and how it can be literally lifesaving to person in need. I have always seen all the different ads on T.V. about donating blood and have always perceived it as such a worthwhile and real thing to do for the many people in need.

The real challenge for myself, when it comes to donating blood, is that I actually have a massive phobia of needles. Nonetheless, I was encouraged by my boyfriend to try and face my fear- we shouldn’t be afraid of saving lives! He came up with the idea that we would go and both donate together as he is a regular blood donor himself. At first I was hesitant, but then the idea grew on me and I psyched myself up to go, face my fear and do a good deed.

Upon arrival at the Blood Bank, I instantly felt at ease as the lady at the reception desk was so helpful with filling out all the forms and guiding me through the process. She went out of her way to ensure I was settled and was adequately hydrated. Unfortunately, however, anxiety got the better of me and the staff member that conducted my interview advised me that I should not go through with the donation. It was so reassuring to know that, although I went with every intention of giving blood, I was not pressured into it and all the staff went out of their way to ensure my wellbeing was the highest priority.

“It was so reassuring to know that, although I went with every intention of giving blood, I was not pressured into it and my wellbeing was the highest priority.”

I still  hope in the near future I’ll be able to donate blood and I do believe I have gotten one step closer to conquering my fear and helping others in this way.

I believe this campaign is fantastic in that it’s encouraging younger people to step up at take the initiative to give blood and I urge you all to try and give it a go! Donating money to a charity is all well and good, but donating something so real, straight from yourself, such as blood in my mind seems so much more useful – especially as you know it is going directly to the person in need, not getting caught up in the system and paying someones wage. I guess, in a way, blood could be described as liquid gold, it’s so valuable when you consider the real difference it makes to thousands of sick people globally.

To start donating blood and helping others, give the Australian Red Cross Blood Service a call on 13 14 95 or simply visit https://www.donateblood.com.au/ready-to-donate/make-appointment.

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Needlessly afraid of needles?

Distracting yourself is a great way to tackle your fear of needles. Image source: Time and Date

Distracting yourself is a great way to tackle your fear of needles. Image source: Time and Date

Are you afraid of needles? Try these phobias on for size:

Belonephobia: the fear of needles.
Aichmophobia: the fear of pointed objects.
Algophobia: n the fear of pain.
Trypanophobia: the fear of injections.

If needles freak you out, you certainly are not alone. Approximately 22 per cent of Australians are so afraid of needles that they avoid many medical procedures, according to research conducted by Griffith University. The study found that this was a huge detriment to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, with 77 per cent of participants admitting it stopped them from donating blood!

So, we’ve put together a list of tips with the help of the American Red Cross to ensure that you desire to do a bloody good deed and donate blood wins over your fear of needles.

  • Keep your eye on the prize: Focus on the difference your donation will be making. You can help save three lives and, compared to the slight, momentary pinch you feel when giving blood, your sense of accomplishment is timeless and the affects you’ve made can last a lifetime.
  • Don’t make it a big deal: Try not to think about the needle, or getting the needle. Don’t worry about the size of the needle, and don’t stress over the pain- most first time donors say it’s painless anyway! If you keep stressing over the needle before you even get there, you’re just creating a sense of anxiety that, in the long run, will make the entire process, and the needle itself, much more uncomfortable.
  • Know what to expect: It’s a great idea to be aware. Read up on the whole donation process, so that when you arrive at your appointment, you will feel ready, prepared and won’t be thrown off guard. Don’t hesitate to ask questions while you’re there as well- the friendly staff are more than happy to help!
  • Distract yourself: Pick up a magazine from the newsagent on your way, or bring a book. Your favourite tunes or a friend for moral support or to chat with can be incredibly helpful. Some say pinching yourself when the needle goes in can also be effective. Figure out what works for you and indulge in it!
  • Share your fear: Tell the Australian Red Cross Blood Service staff about your fear in advance. This way, they are aware and able to talk with you and assist you during the donation process.

Andrew B, who made his 30th donation just last weekend, shared this advice with us via Twitter (@youngbloodNSW):

https://twitter.com/sheddingmyfat/status/393661579193221121

Do you have any tips or tricks that you use? We’d love to hear about them! If you’re ready to tackle your fear book an appointment to donate blood, by calling the Australian Red Cross Blood Service on 13 14 95 or simply visiting https://www.donateblood.com.au/ready-to-donate/make-appointment.